Liquid 8 Gospel Series
Archival Gospel music is hot, and that’s a fact.Producers: Various
album release dates: January - April 2002
The continuing surge of traditional sounds in Gospel is an indicator that the classic drive, the rising vamp and the shout-hard vocal style that characterizes the all-out praise so beloved in choirs, quartets and groups will never fade into fad.
The dosing has never been as strong as on a digitally remastered series from Liquid 8 Music that shines the spotlight on some of Gospel’s most enduring legends.
It’s the Golden Age all over again as James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar, Albertina Walker, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Rev. Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers and several others come re-packaged and stunningly so in a re-issue series of albums pulled deep from the masters and rich vaults of HOB Records.
The James Cleveland set comes as 2-CD package titled Tribute To The King of Gospel, and features the maestro in settings that include several of his accompanying groups, including The Voices of Tabernacle from Detroit and the smaller ensemble, The Gospel Chimes. Chestnuts such as “Plenty Good Room”, “Lord Do It”, “Get Right Church” and “The Love of God” are in the set, along with 21 others.
The Shirley Caesar album presents the First Lady of Gospel in a setting that may be unfamiliar to today’s generation who probably only associate her with the strongest of traditional material. Caesar began her solo career on the HOB label, beginning in the late sixties through to the mid 70’s.
This compilation, titled Treasures, showcases songs such as “No Charge”, “Get Up My Brother”, “The Stones You Through” and “King Heroin”. Strongly contemporary in their day, they are characterized by a soulful, sometimes funky vibe while relying on Caesar's knack for a good music-based sermonette. There's a further 2-CD set The First Lady of Gospel that pulls together even more.
The jewel of the series, at least from choir lover’s point of view, is what’s found on Great Gospel Choirs. Names unfamiliar to perhaps even the most dedicated connoisseur come alive with rousing numbers and tambourine-splashed praises. It’s worth inspecting the track listing for this one. Names such as Barry Covington & 250 Voices, Maggie Bell & The New Hope Baptist Church Choir and The Victory Chorale Ensemble are included among favorites such as Bishop Billy Robinson, Jesse Dixon and Rev. Milton Brunson:
1. Key To The Kingdom - Rev. Milton Brunson & The Christ Tabernacle Choir
2. Millennial Reign - Shirley Caesar & The Shirley Caesar Singers
3. God Is Not Dead - Albertina Walker & The Caravans with The New Covenant Baptist Combined Choirs
4. Quietly - The Victory Chorale Ensemble
5. That's Enough, That's All I Need - Barry Covington & 250 Voices
6. Get Right Church - Rev. James Cleveland & The Voices of Tabernacle
7. Prayer - The Garden State Choir
8. He Didn't Have To Answer My Prayer - Maggie Bell & The New Hope Baptist Church Choir
9. Holy Ghost Is Here Right Now - Rev. Milton Brunson & The Thompson Community Choir
10. Not A Word - The Utterbach Choir
11. Down Here Lord - Jesse Dixon & The Combined Choir of The Omega Baptist Church
12. Lord Feel Me - Greater First Baptist Choir
13. When Trouble Comes - Institutional Choir Of The Church Of God In Christ
14. Shall We Gather At The River - Bishop Billy Robinson & The Garden Of Prayer Church Of God In Christ Choir
15. Save Thyself - First Tabernacle Of Deliverance Choir
Rounding out the series are individual albums from The Staple Singers, Albertina Walker, The Dixie Hummingbirds, The Five Blind Boys of Alabama and Rev. Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers (another 2-CD set), plus some compilations that bring together a medley of hits from all of these greats.
Liquid 8 Records
reviewed by Stan North —
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